War

You’ve been warned, America: Hillary Clinton has never met a war she didn’t like

A war weary American public may not be aware of what they’re in for if Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 presidential race. But Gene Healy, vice president of the Cato Institute and a columnist at the Washington Examiner, is shining some light on the former Secretary of State’s terrible foreign policy record.

Healy joined the Cato Daily Podcast on Wednesday to discuss Clinton’s approach to foreign affairs as it relates to her new book, Hard Choices, telling host Caleb Brown that she’s never met a war she didn’t like.

“[Clinton] has been getting a lot of questions about Iraq recently,” said Healy, “and that is as it should be, because her role in helping perpetuate the worst foreign policy disaster since Vietnam is certainly something that ought to be looked at in terms of her fitness for higher office.”

Clinton, he explains, was one of the most vocal cheerleaders for the war in Iraq, pointing to her comments from the floor of the Senate, in which she said parrotted talking points used by supporters to make the case for military intervention.

“She apparently says something very strange in the memoir. She says that, ‘I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had,’” Healy notes. “It’s pretty clear she didn’t. She gave a floor speech in 2002 explaining that ‘the facts are not in doubt.” And among those facts, Saddam Hussein’s robust nuclear program, the idea that he’d harbored al-Qaeda operatives.”

What Exactly Do Libertarians Think About Foreign Policy?

Robert Gates

Most people who care about such things have heard by now that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who served under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has written an insider’s account of working with both administrations. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War will be released to the general public next Tuesday and, if the excerpts are any indication, it looks to be quite the compelling read.

While the comprehensive work will surely have much to offer, a small conceit included in what’s been released stands out, especially since the opinions — or lack thereof — regarding national security interests on the part of self-described libertarians are sure to be a major part of candidates’ platforms in the coming election. If conservatives seeking office are smart, that is. Here’s the gem:

Did Obama know Syria rebels also may have chemical weapon capability?

photo by Steve Rhodes

The Obama administration based much of their hurried march to war in Syria on the conclusion that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack, and indeed was the only faction with the capability to carry it out. However, a new report based on classified defense intelligence documents directly contradicts those conclusions, in turn questioning the entire rationale for the forestalled military intervention:

The Hersh article is based in part on a four-page secret cable given to a top official at the Defense Intelligence Agency on June 20, one of a group of intelligence community documents allegedly stating that jihadi rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has the ability to make sarin gas. Sarin is the chemical believed to have been used in the Aug 21 chemical attack in Ghouta that crossed Obama’s “red line” and prompted the administration to push for a strike on Assad’s regime. The story is sourced mainly to intelligence and military officers and consultants.

“When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad,” Hersh writes.

Rand Paul: “The American soldier, a volunteer, in defense of liberty”

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul spoke before a room brimming with cadets at The Citadel yesterday in a speech that was rightly considered an early stump effort toward an eventual Presidential run.

And, as The New York Times helpfully points out, he did address points that were not even remotely subtle nods toward presenting himself a viable candidate in the coming election, with emphasis on one special issue in particular:

Mr. Paul was speaking as a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Homeland Security Committees, and he never mentioned his prospective presidential run. But allusions to it have been unavoidable throughout his trip to this early primary state. He drew applause in the packed hall when he reprised a line of attack against former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for her handling of the terrorist assault on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year, saying that it had been a “dereliction of duty” and should “preclude Hillary Clinton from ever holding high office again.”

There is reason to feel optimistic on this Constitution Day

Back in 2004, Congress passed an amendment offered by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) to an omnibus spending bill to commemorate the signing of the Constitution and declare September 17, the day on which the document was signed by its framers, to be “Constitution Day.”

It’s ironic that a legislative body that frequently steps outside it’s limitations would pass a measure recognizing a document for which they have little regard. In the years preceding the creation of Constitution Day, Congress passed a number of measures that fly in the face of the intent and spirit of the Constitution and the rights protected therein.

But Constitution Day means a little more this year than in the past, given the renaissance the document has seen, particularly in just the past few months.

There are several examples from which we could choose to highlight the rebirth of the Constitution, such as Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster back in March or the defeat of onerous gun control measures, including expanded background checks and a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” that would have further infringed upon Second Amendment rights. But recent developments concerning the NSA and Syria are, arguably, in the back of most Americans’ minds.

The New York Times promotes Putin’s propaganda

Vladimir Putin

In trying to determine something new to say about what’s happening in Syria and how, with his charmingly offensive op-ed in The New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin is essentially trying to do the job of the American President by telling us how we should all view events in the eastern Mediterranean, it became clear to me that what’s potent about these events from a domestic perspective is how they shine a light on something that conservatives and libertarians have long been yelling into the wind: the use of propaganda via media to misinform the public is pervasive and very dangerous.

This hit me hard when a good-hearted person with conservative principles remarked recently on a social networking site that Putin’s op-ed made some kind of sense to him, presumably because he called for the U.S. to stay out of war in Syria, an idea popular with conservatives and libertarians.

I went back and re-read the op-ed and couldn’t make out how passages like this one seemed reasonable:

Rand Paul delivers response to Obama’s Syria speech

Rand Paul

In an effort to win over the antiwar liberals standing in his way and scare conservatives into taking his side, President Barack Obama delivered a speech regarding Syria that might have left millions of Americans wondering whether their President was just trying to play tough to intimidate critics.

The calls for action as the President described the horrors Syrians have been exposed to during the attack with chemical weapons were powerful, but somehow misleading in light of recent reports regarding the source of the gas used in the attack. According to The Guardian, high-level German intelligence agencies investigated the sources of the chemical attack near Damascus and found no conclusive evidence connecting the strike to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

His speech was also notable for some of his remarks regarding our role in the international community. After concluding that the United States should act as a global security force and make sure international agreements are being observed, President Obama also claimed he did not wish to see America as the world’s police force. While some skeptics might have felt compelled to back Obama and support U.S. interference with Syria after the speech, some lawmakers remained unconvinced.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was one of them.

Rand Paul made a video response to the President’s speech to remind the nation of this administration’s failure to identify a real solution to the conflict in Syria. According to the Senator, attacking Assad could lead to dreadful consequences, pushing the regime to “resort to chemical weapons in an expanded fashion.”

Obama Administration’s embarrassing foreign policy fumble

Facepalm

Just days after an U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power claimed that the United States had “exhausted the alternatives” to a military strike against Syria, the Obama Administration is seriously considering a deal brokered by Russia that may prevent a war.

The details are still in the works, but the deal, which Bashar al-Assad’s regime has accepted, would require that the Syrian government to relinquish its supply of chemical weapons to international intermediaries. Syria also says that it will ratify the chemical weapons ban treaty.

The Obama Administration remains skeptical, though the President has called the proposed deal a “positive development,” and wants the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution that would make the deal enforceable. Meanwhile, members of the United States Senate are working on a new resolution that would authorize force against Syria in the event that Assad’s government doesn’t turnover its chemical weapons arsenal.

Barack Obama, NeoCon Warmonger…Who Knew?

Oh, what a difference a few years make.

In 2009, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize despite barely getting his seat warmed up in the Oval Office. In 2009 current Secretary of State John Kerry called Assad’s Syria “an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region.” In 2011, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad as a “reformer.” In 2007, then-candidate Obama attacked President George W. Bush for considering military strikes against Iran’s nuclear capability without the approval of Congress, declaring it a violation of the Constitution.

A few years later Obama attacked Libya without congressional approval, and now seeks that approval to attack Syria, even while maintaining that he does not need it in order to act.

Obama, the anti-war candidate, called Iraq a “rash war” waged for political reasons, even while he acknowledged the brutality of Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq who’d killed tens of thousands of his own people using sarin, mustard, and VX gas, primarily targeted at the Kurds of the northern provinces.

There is no debating that Saddam had launched dozens of such attacks, as well as used WMD against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War. He continually shot missiles at U.S. and Allied warplanes which were enforcing a No-Fly Zone, agreed to under the terms of surrender that allowed him to retain power.

Americans still oppose Syria intervention despite Obama’s push for war

Syria

In a last ditch effort to gain public support for military strikes against Syria, President Barack Obama will take his case for intervention directly to the American people in a televised address tomorrow evening.

While the White House insists that its confident that Congress will sign off on the strikes, the political reality is that there isn’t much support for involvement in another country’s internal conflict after more than a decade of war in the Middle East. Members of Congress have heard from constituents, many of whom have called or written their representatives to speak against the proposed military strikes.

Public opinion, which is driving the opposition to intervention in Syria, remains a high hurdle for President Obama to clear, according to three polls released on Monday.

CNN finds that Americans overwhelmingly believe that Bashar al-Assad’s government used chemical weapons against its own people. Despite that, however, 59% said that they don’t want Congress to authorize force against Syria and 55% said that they would oppose intervention even if Congress does approve military strikes. Only 39% support President Obama’s push for war.

While the White House has reserved the option to attack without support from Congress, the CNN poll also found that 71% of Americans oppose military strikes against Syria without congressional approval.


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